Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Multiculturalism is Not the Problem; Ignorance is.

"This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased." Charles Dickens

It’s important that everyone understand that this is the crux of the problem that is faced by the liberal democracies, with regard to the threat of terrorism, as evidenced by the arrests of suspected terrorists here in Canada. Why is this important? If multiculturalism were the problem, then it would be easier to solve. Instead, because the problem is at its very root ignorance itself, it is going to be much more difficult to deal with.

How difficult? How difficult has it been to eradicate bigotry in our society? What about racism, homophobia, sexism, superstition, crime and gang warfare? These are all examples, or rather symptoms of the true problem.

I have been dismayed to hear the suggestion that the problem lays with multiculturalism; that a policy of tolerance of varying cultures, that promotes peace, harmony and the acceptance of the differences of others should be seen as a weakness couldn’t be farther from the truth. Multiculturalism is a policy that by its nature is diametrically opposed to the kind of ignorance that we now find our society being threatened by.

Blaming multiculturalism, as part of the problem, is akin to saying that integration caused racism, or that equal rights result in misogyny.

How do we deal with this militant ignorance which threatens our society? The same way we always have. On a practical level, we pass laws and create regulations that will help protect the public from violence. We enable our security services with the knowledge and power (within reason) to be able to work against the purposes of those who would use violence against their fellow citizens. All the while, we increase awareness and education in an effort to curb the spread of ignorance.

Likewise, fear is an appropriate response to that kind of violence, or threat of violence in our midst; its how we deal with that fear that is important. Do we allow it to overcome us, and cause us to lash out and react in kind? No. We recognize the problem, we educate ourselves, reassure ourselves, and we carry on with courage.

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